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Jailed Kazakh Rights Defender Starts Hunger Strike

Noted Kazakh human rights defender Vadim Kuramshin is on a hunger strike in the penal colony in northern Kazakhstan where he is incarcerated.

Kuramshin's lawyer, Dmitry Baranov, who visited his client on June 2, told RFE/RL that Kuramshin is demanding an immediate transfer to another prison, as well as medical treatment.

Kuramshin claims that the colony's administration employs other inmates to beat, humiliate, and intimidate him.

Kuramshin became well known for his activities to raise awareness of violations of inmates' rights in Kazakh penitentiaries, including in the colony where he is currently incarcerated.

Kuramshin was sentenced to 12 years in jail in December 2012 after he was found guilty of extortion, a charge widely perceived to be politically motivated.

In December, Kuramshin was awarded the prestigious 18th-annual Ludovic-Trarieux human rights prize in Paris.
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